TEST SERIES BY KARA STANLEY
January 16, 2018
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karguo at yahoo dot com
5' 10" (1.80 m)
165 lb (74.80 kg)
I have been hiking most of my life and backpacking since 2006. I have hiked mostly on the east coast, doing weekend trips in the Appalachian Mountains. Since moving to Arizona, my hikes have ranged from short desert hikes to overnight backpacking trips in the mountains. Recently I have taken up canyoneering and off-trail hiking/backpacking to spice things up. I currently use a solo non-free standing tent, canister stove, purification tabs, and lightweight trail runners, conditions permitting, to cut down on weight. My hikes are solo and range from an overnight trip to 4-5 nights on the trail.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Newly arrived WindPouch
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: windpouch.com/
Listed Weight: 3.1 lbs (1.4 kg)
Total Measured Weight: 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg)
Carrying Pouch Weight: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Stake and pouch Weight: 0.7 oz (2 g)
Hammock Weight: 2.7 lbs (1.2 kg)
Color Tested: Cool Blue
Additional Colors: Navy, Green, Purple, Red, and Black
The WindPouch GO (called WindPouch for the duration of this report) is made from Hex-RS hexagonal ripstop nylon with a water repellent coating.
The WindPouch comes with an aluminum stake, tie down cord, a carabiner, stake and carabiner carrying case, and a WindPouch carrying case.
The WindPouch can support up to 550 lbs (250 kg).
The WindPouch is not recommended for use in water and the FAQ section of the website states that extended water exposure can damage the outer nylon shell. This is not a floatation device or a toy.
The WindPouch is made from a ripstop nylon shell that has a water-resistant coating on it. There is an inner plastic liner that traps the air in the pouch. The plastic liner seems to be about the thickness of a freezer zip top bag. This doesn't seem very durable to me, but time and testing will tell, plus the WindPouch came with two patches.
The WindPouch looks like a single tube in a U-shape that is sewn together up the touching sides. The top part of the U-shape is the headrest, which is black and somewhat higher than the side tubes. The WindPouch closes with a roll-top closure, much like a dry bag. The buckle seems very sturdy and has a top latch as well as the squeeze sides. It took me a minute to realize this, so at first I thought the buckle was very hard to open.
|WindPouch packed and ready to go
There is a mesh pocket on the outside of the WindPouch, which is divided into a smaller and a larger pocket. The smaller pocket will hold a 1 L Nalgene bottle and the larger easily held my e-reader.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
I did spend some time reviewing the WindPouch website and watching the "How To" video: https://windpouch.com/pages/inflatable-hammock-ins
I think that this video had good basic instructions on how to fill the pouch, but I could not find any instructions on how to stake down the WindPouch.
In reviewing the FAQ section of the site, I learned that the inner plastic liner should be replaced every 3 to 6 months and can be order directly from WindPouch.com for US$12.99.
The WindPouch also came with directions that are pretty easy to follow. The only difference between the video directions and the written directions is that the video says to roll the closure 3 to 5 times and the written directions say to roll the bag 4 to 6 times. The video says: "With a little practice, you will be able to set up your WindPouch in seconds." While I like that idea, only time will tell if that is true.
Also, while reading the instructions, I noticed that my WindPouch Go did not include the carabiner. I contacted WindPouch customer service about the missing carabiner and they offered to ship one to me (I'll add in the carabiner weight in the field report in 2 months). Turnaround time was about 1 business day, I think that's a very reasonable response time.
TRYING IT OUT
After reading the directions, I took the WindPouch out to the drive way to test it out. Here in Arizona, my yard is xeriscaped, aka covered in gravel because nothing will grow, so I didn't want to test it in the yard. It was 93 F (34 C), and I spent about 5 minutes trying to fill the WindPouch with limited luck. My husband also wanted a go, so he tried running down the driveway and back with the WindPouch and that seemed to work a bit better than me swooping the bag.
Doing this I got the WindPouch about 40% full, I would guess the size of a large bean bag chair. I could lounge in the chair, but it wasn't long enough to lay on for me. When I tried to lay it in my knees were off the WindPouch and I could bend my legs to touch the ground.
|The WindPouch GO, Patches, carrying sack, and sticker
I decided to go into my air-conditioned living room and use an air pump (the kind used to inflate air mattresses) to inflate the WindPouch. Using my battery-operated air pump, the WindPouch was easy to fully inflate.
Once fully inflated, the WindPouch was easy to seal closed with 5 or so rolls. I was easily able to stretch out in the fully filled WindPouch with a bit of room leftover, not bad considering I am 5'10" (1.8 m). It did take a bit of work to get into a comfortable position in the WindPouch. I felt like Goldilocks, if I was too high on the head rest, my head was at an awkward position, if I was too low, my head wasn't supported, so after several adjustments, I was able to find a "Just Right" spot.
My husband, also 5'10" (1.8 m), joined me to see how this would work for two people. We were able to lay side by side, one on each of the tubes. This was actually pretty comfortable and we could share the head rest. Next we decided to try it couch style, with us each sitting on a single tube and leaning back on the other. For us, this did not work out so well. We found ourselves being pushed together and unable to sit comfortably side by side.
I would say that getting out of the WindPouch gracefully was not easy (or mostly impossible for a klutz like myself). Since the sides are soft, I found it was easier to roll onto my knees and get up from there. My husband had a few good chuckles watching me try to get out of the WindPouch, but then I got to chuckle when it was his turn to try and get out of it.
|Inner Plastic Linner
I did find the WindPouch to be pretty hot as I was laying on a nylon covered plastic tube, which wasn't breathable. While I do not plan to spend the night in the WindPouch, I am planning for some quality time in it with a book and or a nap while out camping/backpacking.
So far I am intrigued with the WindPouch, the concept of a tree-less hammock is useful in areas without trees.
* Doesn't Need Trees!
* Can be used for 2 adults pretty comfortably
* Great customer service
Things I'll watch:
* How durable is the WindPouch?
* Can I learn to inflate the WindPouch in seconds?
* How long will the WindPouch stay inflated during use?
* Can I figure out how to stake down the WindPouch?
Room to Grow:
* The Windpouch that I received was missing a carabiner and potentially the securing stability loop (following up with the manufacturer and will report on this in the field report in 2 months)
* It would be useful to have a short video on how to stake down the WindPouch.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Sitgreaves National Forest, Arizona, USA
|Fully inflated WindPouch in the Woods
Length: 3 day/2 night backpack
Mileage: ~ 6 miles (9.5 km) with packs
Elevation: around 7,000 ft/2,100 m
Weather: Sunny and cool, high around 70 F (21 C) low around 40 F (4 C)
Trail Conditions: well-maintained trail
Cedar Mesa, Utah, USA
When: October 2017
Length: 3 day/2 night backpack
Mileage:~ 4 miles (~6 km) with packs.
Elevation: 6,500 ft/ 1981 m
Weather: Sunny, high around 65 F (18 C) low around 40 F (4 C) one day and an-all night dust storm the next!!
Trail Conditions: Partly well-maintained trail, partly overgrown trail and off trail exploring
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I have taken the WindPouch with me on two backpacking trips so far. I left the WindPouch in its carrying bag and just hooked it to the outside of my backpack. I have only taken this on base camp style backpacking trips where I carry a pack less than 3 miles (~4.5 km) to camp. The WindPouch is pretty heavy and bulky to carry on trips longer than that since this does not replace my air mat or tent.
Overall, the WindPouch did work as an air hammock/seat while backpacking. I was able to inflate it to about 3 to 4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) without a breeze, but with a stiff breeze, I was able to fully inflate the WindPouch so that I could lay in it and I'm 5'10" (170 cm). I like the mesh pocket on the side to hold my 1 L water bottle and e-reader.
My backpacking buddies were interested in the WindPouch and all tried it out on each trip. Everyone had a good laugh watching me try to fill the WindPouch using a swoop and scoop method. Then several asked to try filling it themselves. No one was able to fully inflate it to ~ 6' (1.8 m) using the swoop and scoop method. It took a breeze to get it fully inflated.
After each use, either air would escape or the end would unroll a bit and the WindPouch would deflate. I would then either roll the WindPouch tighter, making it shorter, or add more air. I never spent more than 2 hours max in the WindPouch and it would still be quite deflated when I got up. I think that this is because air leaked out of the rolled end, not because of holes in the plastic inner liner. I cannot see how it would be possible to spend a whole night in the WindPouch.
|Small rip by the mesh pocket
I noticed during my first backpacking trip that the WindPouch had a rip in it right by the mesh pouch. I think that this is due to the seam that attaches the mesh pouch to the WindPouch. It's not a major hole, but it happened by the third use (I had inflated the WindPouch twice at home before I took it backpacking). I am not 100 percent sure what caused this rip, but my top two guesses are 1) the rip was caused because the seam was not reinforced and when weight was put into the mesh pocket it caused the fabric to rip 2) the material stretched out during use and the seam did not, causing the material to rip.
Did it happen with the added pressure of someone sitting on the WindPouch that cause too much stress for the sewn material and it ripped?
The Ripstop nylon appears to have stopped the rip from growing - we will see how that works over the next two months.
The one thing that I do not like about the WindPouch is that it drags along the ground while I am swoop and scoop filling it. This means that it gets dirty or dusty and I have to check the area for anything that could damage it before I start filling it. It would be nice if there was some type of pump for filling in.
In the Initial Report I mentioned that the WindPouch arrived without with a carabiner. I contacted their customer support via email and they replied within 24 hours and sent me a new stake and carabiner combo that arrived within a week.
This has been an interesting item to test so far. I can say that I haven't taken anything like this backpacking before!
* Keeps me off the ground at the campsite
* Fills up easily with a breeze
* The carrying sack can be used as a small daypack
* Great customer support
* Hard to fill to full without a breeze
* Gets dirty during filling
* The mesh pocket seems to have caused a minor rip in the WindPouch
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Superstition Wilderness, Arizona, USA
When: January, 2018
Length: 2 day/1 night backpack
Mileage: 14 miles (22 km)
Elevation: 2,500 ft/ 732 m
Elevation Gain: 500 ft/150 m
Weather: Sunny, high around 65 F (18 C) low around 40 F (4 C)
Trail Conditions: Dry, well-maintained trails
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I took the WindPouch out on one backpacking trip during the last 2 months. While I have been on other backpacking trips in the last 2 months, since the WindPouch weighs in at 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg), it is too heavy to carry on strenuous backpacking trips (14+ miles/23+ km and over 2,700 ft / 800 m total elevation gain). Additionally these trips had little down time planned, which meant that there would be very little time to relax in the WindPouch.
|Seam Pulling the Fabric
On the 3rd backpack trip, I did a little better at inflating the WindPouch compared to earlier trips. The reason for this improvement is I stopped by a local outdoor store that carried the WindPouch and they offered to show me how to scoop air into the WindPouch. To fill the pouch they scooped air and very quickly closed the mouth of the WindPouch just as they stopped the scooping motion. Watching someone else inflate the WindPouch in real life was very helpful.
Even though my inflation technique has improved, I still was unable to fill the WindPouch to a length greater than ~5 ft/150 cm without the help of a steady breeze. Since I'm 5 ft 10 in/170 cm, the WindPouch was a bit short for me.
In the photo series on the right, the top image is my best attempt at fully inflating the WindPouch without a breeze. The middle photo is me using the WindPouch, note that my feet hang over the end and, while you cannot see it, my bum is basically on the ground. The bottom picture is of the WindPouch after I got out of it, note the level of deflation. All the pictures are from a single inflation.
I feel that this WindPouch deflates in two ways: 1) the weight of someone sitting in the Wind Pouch forces the rolled section to tighten, therefore provide more volume to for the air to fill and 2) some of the air may leak out of the rolled end before it fully tightens. In the field report, I noted a small tear in the outside of the WindPouch, but since the inner plastic liner was still intact this did not contribute to the WindPouch deflating.
The picture on the left shows the seam on the bottom on the WindPouch where the headrest and sides meet. The seam has started to pull the fabric at this point. This wear has not caused the WindPouch to leak since it has not affect the inner plastic liner, but it is an area I'll watch with continued use to see if it needs patching to prevent the inner plastic liner from getting punctured. I do feel the need to note that no more than 400 lbs/180 kg were placed on the WindPouch during the test period and that it is rated for 550 lbs/ 250 kg. Based on this, the small tear and fabric pulling by the seam are not due to exceeding the weight limit for the WindPouch.
I mentioned in the initial review period that the manufacture recommends replacing the inner plastic liner every 3 to 6 months. I'm happy to report that I have not had any issues with the inner plastic liner and it does not have any holes or rips that I could find.
Overall, this has been a fun product to test and I will take it on shorter backpacking trips where I expect minimal effort (3 hours or less with little elevation gain) to get to the campsite. This is also something that I will take car camping, especially on trips to areas with no trees for a normal hammock. The WindPouch website indicates that it is possible to sleep in it overnight as it stays inflated for up to 8 hours. I did not have success keeping it inflated longer than 2 to 3 hours or until I got out of it. Therefore, I would not consider this a possible replacement for my air mattress while backpacking. Additionally, while my inflation skills have improved, but I still cannot get the WindPouch inflated beyond 5 ft/150 cm without the aid of a stiff breeze, making it a bit short for me.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
* Doesn't need trees (this is great in a desert - cacti do not like holding hammocks!)
* Easy to deflate and repack
* Handy carrying case
* Fun to use and provides entertainment to the rest of your hiking group when you:
a. inflate it
b. try to get out of it without rolling on the ground
* Heavy duty pinch-clip for closing the WindPouch
* Handy pocket on the side for a water bottle and a book
Room For Improvement:
* Heavy for backpacking
* Fully inflating the WindPouch without a breeze is tricky
* Durability, with moderate use the WindPouch is already showing wear and tear
* Quality Control, my WindPouch arrived without a carabiner and no loop for staking it to the group
Overall, the WindPouch is a fun addition to my car camping or easy backpack trip gear and I will continue to use on future trips.
Thank you to BackpackGearTest.org and WindPouch GO for allowing me to test out this product. This concludes my test series.
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